How Kundalini Yoga Opened my Heart.
Who would have thought that a simple visit to my acupuncturist 20 years ago would be the key I needed?
The key that opened the door in my search for inner peace, health, and happiness, and took me to Chichen Itza, Mexico for the start of a lifelong relationship with Kundalini yoga.
Certainly not me.
But, in 1999, I found myself with a group of strangers on a pilgrimage through the Yucatán Peninsula, exploring Mayan ruins and the teachings of Kundalini yoga.
For someone who had only dabbled in yoga and meditation over the years while on my path as an opera singer, this was an experience that took me right out of my comfort zone. However, I was curious and ready to try something new.
I was reassured by my acupuncturist, who also happened to be a Kundalini yoga teacher in London, and who had suggested this retreat as a way of recovering from a hectic schedule of singing and touring. He told me it was a unique opportunity and one that I was supposedly ready for, despite having never practiced Kundalini yoga, so I dived into the unknown.
My introduction to Kundalini was not your everyday yoga studio variety and I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in Mexico.
On day one, I was sitting cross-legged on the ground, with the Temple of Kukulcan in the background. I had my hands raised in the air, panting heavily through my nostrils, with a breath known as “Breath of Fire.” Little did I know that in that moment I was about to experience something deeply moving, transformative, and life-changing.
You hear and read about Kundalini awakenings and you never quite know what to think about their significance, however in that short time, I felt like I had touched something deeply profound and special. It was like all the self-imposed blocks suddenly dissolved and my mind, body, and breath had entered a space that was full of peace, joy and contentment. There was a clarity, connectedness, and consciousness I had never realised before.
Not only did I recognise that something had shifted within me, others also saw it externally and remarked that my face looked younger and my eyes seemed clearer and more radiant.
Those next few days were touched with a sense of purpose and knowingness.
I had more energy and enthusiasm and was inspired to learn more about the science behind Kundalini and how the kriyas benefited the body. As luck would have it, my acupuncturist had a Kundalini yoga school in the U.K. and so without hesitation, I signed up!
When I enrolled in the Kundalini school, I had no intention to teach, it was more a deep desire to understand more fully what I had experienced in Mexico and how I might experience that again.
Fast track to now, and I have been teaching Kundalini yoga for over 15 years throughout the world, including three years creating and running the only Kundalini yoga studio in Sydney, and I am still surprised at how quickly Kundalini works to awaken and transform people.
There are so many benefits of practicing Kundalini yoga, but first let me give you a glimpse of what it is, before introducing a simple exercise for you to experience the power and joy of Kundalini for yourself.
Kundalini combines asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), movement, stretching, mantra (sacred sounds), mudra (hand positions) and relaxation. The combination of these components create exercises, kriyas (sets) and meditations to stimulate the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand the lung capacity and purify the blood.
Kundalini is particularly beneficial for this fast-paced world we live in, as the results are almost immediate. There are thousands of kriyas, so there is something for everyone, regardless of age, fitness, background, and experience.
All of us have the energy of Kundalini within us and we can all learn how to activate it through Kundalini yoga and meditation.
Kundalini yoga has benefited me in so many ways. I am calmer, happier, more energised, and more creative. A regular Kundalini yoga practice has opened up all sorts of new opportunities for me, and has truly transformed my life and especially my relationships.
My daily Kundalini yoga and meditation practice inspired me to write a book, called Everyday Kundalini, which will be published this month.
The book is an introduction to Kundalini yoga and meditation, and at the end of the book I introduce 12 different meditations, including this one: a meditation to welcome love.
I taught this meditation to a woman who was single and fearful of entering into any new relationship, thinking she might get hurt. After practicing this meditation for 40 days she felt more open, inspired, and spontaneous. Soon afterward, she was in a relationship with the person she had been interested in for years. Today, three years on, they are still together. It works—try it for yourself.
Meditation for Welcoming Love:
This meditation opens your heart to self-love and to the love of others.
The mantra will cut through any fears or doubts and allow you to access the truth of your heart. It will open you to new possibilities of love and help those people who are searching for more connection with their partner.
1. Sit in Half Lotus or Easy Pose (sitting on the floor, cross-legged) and close your eyes, focusing your attention at the third eye. Apply a light Neck Lock—the most basic and generally applied lock, activated by lifting the chest and sternum up while lengthening the back of the neck, by pulling the chin toward the back of the neck whilst neck, throat, and face muscles remain relaxed.
2. Bring your hands into Prayer Mudra at the centre of your chest and repeat the mantra “Sat Kar Tar” (“saat, kaar, taar”, meaning “manifestor of the truth”) a few times. Roll the “R” each time and keep the flow between the syllables, emphasizing each one evenly.
3. With your hands still in Prayer Mudra, say “Sat.”
4. As you say “Kar,” extend your hands out from your shoulders, halfway toward the final position, with fingers pointing straight up.
5. As you say “Tar,” fully extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, and with your fingers pointing up.
6. Coordinate the movement with the mantra and find your rhythm. Repeat for 3–11 minutes and feel yourself opening and expanding on each repetition of the mantra.
Invite love into your life!
Author: Kathryn McCusker
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen